With a soft voice at the other end of the telephone conversation, Ms Wendy Angu’deyo spoke like a long-time friend although this was only my first chat with her.
Ms Angu’deyo is a Ugandan golfer and a member of the West Nile Golf Club with roots from Ayivu County in Arua district.
By the time of my call, Angu’deyo was making final arrangements for a trip to the Ghanaian capital Accra for a continental golf show piece.
A fast rising star, Ms Angu’deyo’s two-year golf story is being equated to the instant hit to fame by Onduparaka football club of Arua by close friends.
Her ambitions matched with a winning mentality have attracted a cross section of institutions and friends to sponsor her in a sport many deem very expensive.
Ms Angu’deyo sits on the executive of the Uganda ladies golf union as the honorary secretary of Uganda golf club ladies section and the competition secretary.
Ms Angu’deyo the first of four children born to Mr Isaac Angumaniyo (RIP) and Mrs Beatrice Adro, a retired senior nursing officer would ideally be described as an ordinary child.
She was born in Kampala and bred in Arua, attending Mvara and Muni Girl’s secondary schools in the process eventually qualifying as a teacher.
She shunned teaching for a communications and public relations job with mobile telecommunications giant, MTN, but chose to retire after fourteen years of service to the company.
“Thank you, thank you, absolutely, that’s my biggest regret,” Ms Angu’deyo emotionally responds when asked whether she regrets joining the game late.
“My early primary education was in Jinja where my father used to play golf but we just went there to watch as we waited for them. I wish I had begun playing golf earlier,” she says.
However she is taking no chances with her little daughter who has swifty being introduced to playing golf.
Getting to play golf
Ms Angu’deyo’s hitherto unlikely participation in Golf changed course abruptly one day when a friend Mr Lino Anguzu asked her to “try”.
“We went to the course but the people that were supposed to play did not turn up, so, my friend asked me to pick a club and try,” she says.
Surprisingly her first shots were one of the best that it gave her impetus to play more. “By the time we were finishing the 18 holes, I got hooked to golf,” Ms Angu’deyo narrates.
Her next task was to get the necessary equipment setting her the huge challenge of succeeding in an environment nearly devoid of female companion.
Building golf career
Ms Angu’deyo says her initial challenges were daunting. “Getting a small ball into a hole with precision and accuracy was a huge task and yet I enjoyed the exercise bit of walking on the course,” she quipped.
As she put up all the effort to practice and improve Ms Angu’deyo bumped into one of the renowned golfers in the country, Mr Deo Akope whose immense support in the technical areas of the sport helped her to improve tremendously.
Ms Angu’deyo calls her experience with Mr Akope as one part of her success story but another part, she says, had to do with a strong winning mentality.
“I have been pushed so much by the support of friends and institutions, so, I always want to deliver on the arena. People like Mr Denis Aliga of the Development Model for Africa group, Mr Godfrey Mundua of dfcu bank, Memmber of Parliamen James Acidri, Mr Joel Aita of Joadah Consult and the west Nile golf club have really supported me and I can only give back by winning for them,” explains Ms Angu’deyo.
Many of her sponsors are former school mates some of whom contact her through social media.
Apart from the financial support, some of her friends make time and physically support her when she is playing.
Restoring the Arua golf course
As she progressed with her illustrious golf career, the lack of a golf course back home in Arua remained the biggest nightmare for Ms Angu’deyo.
By the time she was playing her best golf, the course of the West Nile golf club had been unplayable for years and continued being degraded by the day.
Most of the golfers had either lost interest or transferred to Kampala clubs. But the thought of losing this treasured piece of land to other uses was unacceptable to the likes of Ms Angu’deyo that something had to be done.
“What intrigued me was that MTN exposed the West Nile golf club to big tournaments. I took part in the organising one of the tournaments but after that the golf court just went redundant; that felt terrible,” she says.
Ms Angu’deyo who had all this time played her golf at Kitante and Entebbe courses together with other well-wishing sons and daughters of west Nile region began a mobilization drive to revamp their “home” course.
Although she had retired from her communications job, she had time and she wanted to play more golf to inspire the girls in her region.
That is why when the committee in Arua resolved to revamp the West Nile golf course early this year, Ms Angu’deyo was elected the vice-captain in her absentia.
Accolades and travels
Her history of winning has been short and yet eventful. She scooped the overall winner’s medal in the women category of Mary Louis Memorial tournament in Namulonge in 2016, her first of many awards.
She was runner up in the Uganda ladies golf union president’s shield group B and the overall winner of the lady’s category during the captains’ price golf tournament 2018 at Kitante golf course in Kampala.
She was also the overall winner of the lady’s category in the chairman’s cup 2017, the Entebbe lady’s open 2018, and overall winner of group A in the 2018 Mayombo memorial.
She attended the Kilimanjaro open in 2017 in Arusha, the Eldoret open in Kenya, IDB open in Abuja, Rwanda versus Uganda open in Rwanda and Victoria cup open in Nairobi Kenya in the recent time.
After the Accra trip which she refers to as the biggest exposure of all, Ms Angu’deyo hopes to participate in the Uganda open and make two other international trips to Abuja and Tanzania before the end of year 2018.
Her dream is to eventually join the national team and be an inspiration to the ladies who until now “still think Golf is a sport for men”.
She also plans together members of the west Nile golf club to start golf clinics at schools to educate and encourage the children as well as design holiday programs so that the young can learn the basics.
She confirmed that arrangements are also in place to host a tournament at the West Nile golf course between team Kampala and team Arua before the end of 2018.